Before we took Charlie on his first long flight, I did a ton of research on tips for traveling with children. Though there was a little crying involved (due to both our flights being delayed), overall our first trip was a big success. Since we timed our flights with Charlie’s bedtime, we didn’t need too many toys. But now that he’s a little older, he’s definitely going to need a little more entertainment! Traveling with children means traveling with a lot of stuff, and hopefully some of these items make your experience a little bit easier.

1) GO Travel Crib; 2) Go-Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate; 3) The First Years Jet Umbrella Stroller; 4) CARES Child Aviation Restraint System; 5) Combi Cocorro Lightweight Car Seat; 6) Skip Hop Pronto Mini Changer; 7) Beco Butterfly II Baby Carrier; 8) JL Childress Car Seat Bag


9) Crayola Wonder Travel Tote; 10) My Big Book of Stickers; 11) Sesame Street Disposable Stick-on Placemats; 12) Airport; 13) Doodlepro Travel, 14) Schleich Zebra; 15) Kidz Gear Headphones; 16) Ziploc Bags; 17) iPad


1) GO Travel Crib – If you need a crib at your destination, the Go Travel Crib gives you the ease of set up of the Baby Bjorn Travel crib (which has to be checked in because of its length), and the compactness of the Phil and Ted’s Travel Crib.

2) Go-Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate – This nifty device turns your car seat into a stroller. Because we brought our umbrella stroller to the gate, we opted to attach our car seat to our carry on suitcase with some inexpensive bungee cords instead. It worked great!

3) The First Years Jet Umbrella Stroller – At $44, this 11 pound stroller with recline is a bargain and perfect for travel because you won’t lose sleep if it gets damaged. We had the JL Childress Umbrella Stroller Gate Check bag for checking in our umbrella stroller at the gate, but it’s so thin and offers almost no protection. For frequent travelers, the JL Childress Umbrella Stroller Bag may be worthwhile investment. We have one and it’s great for protecting your stroller (which often gets damaged whether you check it or gate check it), as well as stuffing in extras like coats!

4) CARES Child Aviation Restraint System; – This restraint system is the only FAA approved alternative for a car seat. It’s designed for children over the age of 1 who are old enough to sit in their own seats, but too small to be protected by the seat belt alone. Charlie still sat in his car seat when he was a year old, but this alternative is a better bet now that he’s older.

5) Combi Cocorro Lightweight Car Seat – We don’t own a car and regularly zipcar, so that means having to carry around our car seat. We own this car seat because it is so lightweight, which makes it great for travel! Thank goodness we brought the car seat on the plane (Charlie was 1 at the time), because Charlie slept as snug as a bug!

6) Skip Hop Pronto Mini ChangerAirplane bathrooms are pretty yucky and they certainly don’t have changing tables, so you’re going to want a compact changing pad to change your little one.

7) Beco Butterfly II Baby CarrierIt’s probably easiest just to wear your child through the airport rather than deal with a stroller. Whether you prefer wraps or carriers, they are a travel must.

8) JL Childress Car Seat Bag – If you need a car seat at your destination, you can check it with your luggage or gate check it. Car seats don’t count towards your checked baggage allotment, and there is enough space inside this to stuff in a coat or two!

9) Crayola Wonder Travel Tote – You’ll want quiet activities to keep your little one occupied, and there’s nothing better than drawing for kids 18 months+.

10) My Big Book of StickersStickers are also awesome at keeping your kids occupied for long stretches of time. Charlie absolutely loves this book. He likes to point out the pictures in the book, but he especially loves to stick stickers on me!  A more inexpensive alternative is just to bring a roll of masking tape!

11) Sesame Street Disposable Stick-on PlacematsThese are great for travel and for use at restaurants. We’d stick one on the table and lay out some puffs for Charlie to feed himself.

12) AirportCharlie is at the age where he can appreciate a book about airports. At our last flight when he was 1, I think he probably would have been too young.  But now he’s obsessed with moving vehicles of any kind, and a book about the airport is sure to get him excited about a trip.

13) Doodlepro TravelAnother great, quiet travel toy.

14) Schleich ZebraCharlie is super into these Schleich animals these days. A great tip I once read on a travel blog is to wrap up a bunch of small, inexpensive toys like animal figurines or things you can pick up at the 99 cent store. Then give your child a new toy every half hour or so!

15) Kidz Gear Headphones – Charlie is obsessed with our earbuds, so I was thinking about getting him these headphones for his upcoming birthday. These are perfectly sized for your little one to watch movies, play games and listen to music.

16) Ziploc Bags Ziploc bags help organize all the things you need to keep with you when you’re traveling with kids, from snacks to toys to dirty clothes!

17) iPad – Load it up with apps and movies before you get on the plane. Barney, Teletubbies and Elmo are Charlie’s shows of choice. We don’t let him watch tv (only youtube), but if it’s going to keep him occupied on a long flight, I’m all for it!

What are some of your travel essentials when flying with small children?